Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

I wore my backpack backwards,

so with cleaving textbook corners

and the weight of bologna and a fruit cup,

I was pregnant fleeing the great drone

of the tornado drill tornado.

I lost a shoe in the gleaming hall

and shy Kelly, who played the trombone in music,

rescued it for me, pinching the ribbon.

Safely sheparded into the capsule gymnasium,

we hugged our wooden knees and balloon hearts,

tucked our crystalline brains down

at the place in our bodies where the halves

of future babies stirred and sighed.

The fake tornado felt like my father

when his veins wormed plumper

and his words became spit.

I was banished to my room.

I stood, braced my aching

book weight, and went.

— Leah Sewell

Leah Sewell lives in Topeka, Kansas with her two children and husband, Matt. She is the creator and facilitator of the Topeka Writers’ Workshop, the features editor of seveneightfive magazine, the editor of XYZ Magazine, and has had work published in Flint Hills Review, Coal City Review, Inscape, Blue Island Review and other small independent journals.
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Comments on: "63. Tornado Drill" (2)

  1. Rick Nichols said:

    Having just survived the Joplin tornado (we were at the IHOP), which may or may not produce a poem on my part for use somewhere else, I was particularly interested in this poem. We had a tornado drill at the church (we were going to have one anyway) the Sunday following the Joplin twister.

  2. Leah,
    Wonderful poem! The lines “like my father / when his veins wormed plumper / and his words became spit” are unforgettable.
    It was nice meeting you and Matt the other night at Blue Planet!
    I’m glad you introduced yourselves.

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